Cam Newton stopped by the Gatorade Fuel Bar last Friday to take some group media questions.
My main concern for Newton last year was his leadership abilities. In a sense he fooled the scouts who reviewed his Auburn game tape, because the Tigers never lost a game. The scouts never got to see how Newton reacted during a game in which things were not going his way. I asked Newton about the growth of his leadership skills and he called them “a work in progress”. (6:50)
Got news for you Carolina Panther fans; that is not what you want to hear from your starting quarterback. Robert Griffin III’s rookie year showed that a rookie can have poise during wins, losses, media sessions, and especially on the field. Newton has shown poise during games and wins, but not necessarily during press conferences and losses.
Press conferences Newton gives like the one below need to become a thing of the past for him to be a true leader; he cannot throw his coaches and teammates under the bus, while pouting on the sideline and then offering no answers as to possible solutions.
Newton did predict that the Baltimore Ravens would win the Super Bowl though, and his advice for other players to “respect the game” should be music to Panthers’ fans.
Newton’s third year in the NFL should be revealing to his critics and supporters alike; if he can develop his leadership skills and get all the grown men in the Panthers’ locker room to follow him, then the Panthers could shock some people next year.
Much thanks to Gatorade, and catch more Fuel Bar interviews later this week with Russell Wilson, A.J. Green, and Eli Manning coming up next.